Work begins on GBP26m student accommodation project

An artist's impression of the new Edinburgh Campus residences

A circa £14m residences development is scheduled to begin on 21 February 2011 at Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh Campus, part of a circa £26m project to develop new residences buildings at the University's Edinburgh and Scottish Borders Campuses, replacing residences built in the early 1970s, which are reaching the end of their useful life.

Edinburgh Campus residences

The Edinburgh Campus buildings, which will have 277 bed spaces, will be built on the west side of the University's attractive, landscaped campus as a further expansion of the West Student Village.

The buildings are planned as a contemporary re-interpretation of the traditional 'university quad' courtyard plan, surrounding an outdoor 'social space', designed to be used as an extension of the indoor space living space, Edinburgh weather permitting.

Morgan Sindall has been awarded the contract following a competitive tendering exercise.

Scottish Borders Campus residences

In Galashiels the new buildings will be developed in phases, following the recently completed major re-development of the academic facilities at the Scottish Borders Campus.

The initial phase, which will provide 218 bed spaces, is currently out to tender and is expected to start in April 2011, with additional accommodation blocks each containing 60 bed spaces to be considered and scheduled as later phases.

These new residences are the latest phase of the University's dynamic programme of investment to upgrade its estate

Peter Kerr, Director of Estates

Modern, sustainable accommodation

Both the Edinburgh and Scottish Borders Campus residences will comprise single rooms, each with en-suite provision, kitchens, lounges and ancillary facilities. At each location some of the rooms will be arranged as five bedroom 'cluster' flats, and the SBC residences will also include some visitor accommodation.

Peter Kerr, Director of Estates, said: "These new residences, the latest phase of the University's dynamic programme of investment to upgrade its estate, will be a major improvement to our student residences provision. They will replace buildings which are reaching the end of their useful lifespan with modern, attractive and welcoming accommodation with generous space standards and facilities which are at the leading edge of market expectations.

"They are also designed and produced to last forty or fifty years, utilising high quality materials and specifications selected for their durability and reduced whole life costs. The design also has environmental considerations and sustainability at its core, such as to achieve an 'excellent' rating for environmental performance under the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Environmental Performance 'excellence' rating.

"The designs have been created in consultation with not only experts in architecture, construction and energy/environmental management, but also with the staff who will operate and maintain them and, crucially, with students."